APPROACH TO TEACHING
My approach to teaching would consist of three main teaching and learning goals. Firstly, language is a means of communication hence communication is key. Fluency in speech, command in grammar, vocabulary and diction, communicative competence, and speaking English would be the aim and goal. Secondly, adhering to different learning styles would be fundamental. Incorporating visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles would ensure that all students benefit from the lessons and retain information. Lastly, the materials used by teachers can be textbooks, the Internet or their own material. Textbooks would be used to have a structure that can be followed easily, but determining what the student’s may or may not need to focus on more, would then become a case of changing different activities in the lesson or structuring it to cater to the student’s needs.
One teaching method that will be followed closely will be the Berlitz Method. It focuses on speech, vocabulary over grammar and its purpose of language learning is communication and students are given opportunities to use the language in real contexts. There is one rule of allowing no translation, which will only enhance students’ ability to converse in English and to stop relying on their native language. However, all micro skills will be integrated as well, with the exception of spelling, which will not be the focal point. A few principles from the Audio-Lingual Method will also be used: to prevent learners from making errors, positive reinforcements in order to help students correct errors, and as the ‘natural order’ of skill acquisition is listening, speaking, reading and writing, the oral/aural skills will receive the most attention. Students need feedback and the teacher’s input in order to receive constructive criticism so the Silent Way will definitely not be applied. Also, including the playing of music as is done in Suggestopedia will be the students’ choice whether they feel that will help them relax and they can pick which genre of music they would like to listen to from a few options given to them. Checking to see whether the music has had a positive effect will need to be assessed. This creates a stress free environment that students definitely need and they feel free to make choices and know they will be treated like adults. These methods primarily focus on teaching adults; the method used for teaching children English will not be a completely different method, however I would incorporate Total Physical Response, which is based on the coordination of language and body language. It will be more fun for children as they like moving around, which will lower their affective filter which can be more difficult to manage with children.
My role as a teacher would be a guide, guiding and directing the students through the lesson, and how to communicate effectively in English as some students don’t respond well to having an authority figure, as they like having control too, which then creates a power struggle. Moreover, it is imperative to take on the role of a psychologist. Teachers must interpret how the students react to the material or whether they find the tasks or activities too challenging or not challenging enough. Based on their reactions, teachers should not hesitate in pushing students a little harder or move on to something else. Giving attention to all students and integrating one-to-one teaching if the group size allows it, is extremely useful for S1 and P2 students in particular. Teaching children would make for a combination of a guide, psychologist and playmaker. Children like to have fun and to keep moving so the teacher’s priority changes to keep them busy and engaged. Having a sense of humour will keep the classes light and enjoyable for both the teacher and student, which will inevitably reduce stress, frustration, and disruption and lower their affective filter. My role as a teacher would also include being patient, understanding, flexible and encouraging.
The student’s role in the classroom will be a communicator. Having confidence to speak in English the entire time will get them to start thinking in the target language instead of just their mother tongue. They will not be passive learners as that makes it harder to retain information if it is not applied. Students also need feedback or answers by the teachers and by enabling them to take the initiative to ask when they need it, it will bring about self-assessment and again, make them have a conversation in English with their teacher.
The syllabus would be structure-based moving from easy to difficult tasks as they grow to understand the target language and function-based so students learn how to express themselves. However, if a student is learning English for their job, it will change to a content-based syllabus, as they will need to have a certain vocabulary depending on their career and their motivation will differ from the rest. As mentioned before, I would follow the ‘natural order’ of skill acquisition, as I believe that is what will be most beneficial for the students and will open more doors for them. In a typical class for teenagers and adults, you can expect to see all macro skills to be taught, however the focus will be on listening and speaking. I believe the Internet is an important vessel through which we consciously and subconsciously gather information from. Hence, we can start off the lesson by showing the students a short video on a certain topic, for example the weather (depending on their level), to start the class in a fun way and also guiding them to videos they can look for themselves at home. We would then discuss what we have watched, and I would ask students questions related to that topic: ‘What season is your favourite? Why? What do you like doing on a hot or cold day?’ More challenging questions for higher level students would consist of: ‘What if you had plans to go out with friends in the weekend and it started raining, would you change them? If so, why? If not, why not? What are your favourite summertime and wintertime activities?’ This would lead them to think in English and communicating with each other on conversations one would have and could have with everyone frequently will encourage them to learn as they know they will not be learning anything they will not use. The teacher would then read a dialogue aloud to the students so they can read, look at spelling and listen to the pronunciation at the same time. We would then have a group discussion on what they thought was happening, discuss different character traits of the two people from what they could tell, what the students would do if they were in the characters’ situation. Making sure they have understood the text and have expressed their opinions on it, we could move on to them working in pairs to read different parts of the dialogue to the rest of the class. This will be help the teacher and students focus on pronunciation. Allowing the students to write their own short story or just writing about themselves will target their creativity and everything they have learnt during the lesson. They will also have the option of reading their story to the rest of the class if they wish to do so. It would be handed in to the teacher so errors can be corrected. At the end of the lesson, there would be quick questions to make sure they have understood and retained the information. The materials that will be used are projectors for presentations, a computer, textbooks (for ideas, or to follow), books, a white board and having access to the Internet.
Homework will cater to different learning styles, not only those who excel in working under pressure and whose strength is writing. Homework will vary from having writing assignments from short stories to writing their own dialogue, preparing a short presentation, reading a chapter of a book, for which they have to answer questions about in class. All of these include at least one macro skill, which is the goal. Homework will also, at times, count towards the final grade, which will consist of all macro skills. Assessment will be continuous, but students will also have an exam at the end of the year, which will make them revise what they have learnt throughout the year and an indication to the teachers of whether they have retained the information or not.
As mentioned earlier, teaching methods and the teacher’s role will be the same for teenagers and adults, but may vary for children. Based on the students’ level, the activities would not be changed, but applying graded language would be the difference between teaching beginners and advanced students. The teacher’s role for beginners would then change to the extent that students’ errors would be tolerated, whereas with advanced students, errors would not be as they are proficient, confident, and understand English. Regardless of the student’s level, praise and encouragement from the teacher is what can motivate and drive the students to work harder, and know they are closer each time to reaching their goals. The use of cognates for beginners would be allowed as the similarities between their native language and the target language will accelerate them retaining information. Moreover, simplifying not only makes it a faster process and beneficial for the student, but also for the teacher.
In conclusion, my approach to teaching encompasses proficiency and fluency in interacting and communicating in English. The first and sometimes only question asked about knowing a certain language is ‘Do you speak…(English),’ not whether we can write, read, or understand it. I believe most of the time, unless it is for work, reading or writing will not do much good, if you cannot or do not have the confidence to speak to anyone in the target language.
LESSON PLAN (P4)
[Objective: To get them thinking about the following topic]
What kind of celebrities do you like/ do not like? (Why?)
Is there a celebrity in particular you admire or look up to?
Is there any celebrity you would like to meet?
Q&A [TL through questions to think about both sides of a celebrity’s life]
Would you like to be a celebrity?
Do you think celebrities have an easy or hard life? Why/why not?
What are the advantages of being a celebrity? (rich/special treatment)
What are the disadvantages of being a celebrity? (no privacy/ stalking/ can't live a normal life/ having fake friends)
Do you think they should earn all the money they receive?
(Read text on Lindsay Lohan getting a DUI) -students will read aloud to the rest of the class [Objective: Learn new vocabulary read in the text and apply that to real life situations, which leads up to a discussion on celebrities as a positive and negative influence]
LINDSAY LOHAN ARRESTED FOR DUI AND DRUGS
Actress Lindsay Lohan suffered a relapse a day before her morning arrest for misdemeanour driving under the influence and drug possession.
'Addiction is a terrible disease’, her attorney said. This is the second time in less than two months for which Lindsay has been investigated for driving under the influence by California police.
This happened less than two weeks after she left rehab, which was her second time in rehab this year.
If she is convicted for the charges on driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and possession of cocaine, she could face jail time.
What are the charges for driving under the influence in Spain?
What does misdemeanour mean? Could you give me a sentence with misdemeanour?
Do celebrities have a responsibility to be role models?
Should they be able to do what they want without having to think about the consequences like everyone else?
Do you think celebrities who donate to charities have a positive influence on people? (Angelina Jolie)
[Ask students to write their own definition of success – allow a couple of minutes. Ask them to read their definition out to the rest of the class. Get other students’ opinions on whether they agree or disagree]
[Give examples of success stories and failures and ask the students to pick the ones that represent success to them. Also, make them read out each example- this will help with pronunciation]
One person’s success is another person’s failure
[Ask what they believe this means. Help them understand that success is relative. Relative – included in TL. After making sure they have understood, tell them to write a dialogue between two people and the differences between what success means to them – allow 10 minutes at most. Ask them to read it out. This activity will include focus on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling – basically all micro as well as macro skills. Students should ask questions after each reading – Q&A between students]
Do you have a role model? If yes, who? If not, is there someone you admire?
Who has had a positive/negative influence in your life?
Give me a sentence with 'privacy'.
Apart from success, what else is relative?
What does failure mean to you?